TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

“Don’t just do something. Sit there.”

Going about my chores and errands this morning, I didn’t feel “at ease.”  I felt odd because I’m used to running for hours at a time.  I’m not accustomed  to “having” my mornings.  I give my mornings away for solitude, for  joy, and most importantly, for “The Now.”

I played the “minimum card,” for my running streak yesterday, and I knew that I was going to play the “minimum card” today as well.   Why?  I suppose things, running-wise, have been going too good.  A “rest” before I got too tired seemed the right thing to do for my running streak, for myself.  Therefore, this afternoon about 3 PM, I ran out the front door for a hilly 2.77 miles around the neighborhood. 

Have I ever mentioned that I’m not an afternoon runner?  Well, I’m not an afternoon runner – pretty much hate it.  Though, I do enjoy starting my run in the morning and running into the afternoon. 

SO! What I’ve learned these past couple days, in fact over the whole streak, is that it’s good to mix it up.  It’s not only good to run a couple miles instead of twenty, it’s helpful because it changes up my running pace.  I definitely run a different speed when I’m running twenty miles compared to one mile.  The short runs are also helpful because they remind me that it’s OKAY not to go “all out” with the miles. 

Back in the college, I had a wonderful Professor named Dr. Saint Laurent.  I studied modern art in his class.  And this is what he said to us one day about a popular saying that I had heard all of my life:

“Most people say, ‘Don’t just sit there. Do something.’  How about this instead? ‘Don’t just do something. Sit there’.” 

His words about jolted me out of my seat.  I had always been a “Don’t-just-sit-there-do-something-kind-of-girl.”  Dr. Saint Laurent’s concept was practically foreign to me.  Even when I was “sitting there,” I felt like I should be doing something.  And not only should I be doing something, I should be doing it phenomenally.  If I took a test, an A wasn’t even good enough – an A+ was my desire.  If I started a book, I HAD to finish it (even if I HATED it.)  I could not fathom any reason that I couldn’t hit the ball EVERY TIME it crossed the plate.  A sonata on the piano had to be played perfectly.  And if I messed up, I’d stop and start the piece over FROM THE TOP.  Of course, you might understand why I eventually quit piano, quit guitar, quit softball, quit volleyball, etc., etc. 

After graduation, we had the pleasure of receiving my husband’s grandmother’s baby grand piano. (It was built especially for her when she was a young girl).    And it was with this beautiful piano that takes up a quarter of our living room that I learned to play for fun.  Finally, I didn’t even have to finish a piece.  I could play just part of a piece, my favorite part, and then move onto another song and play a section, or the whole thing, whatever I felt like, JUST FOR FUN.  If I messed up, I might stop to work on the measure, or I’d just keep playing.

Similarly, when I enter a race, I have absolutely no chance at winning.  Yet I have fun.  With this now 52 day running streak, I’m coming back to Dr. Saint Laurent’s notion.  Funny, because I didn’t realize that I left it.  But I did, partially anyway.  I’ve been feeling guilty for years for not being successful as a fiction writer, for not knocking on more doors to get published.  As such, I don’t believe I’ve written fiction for more than a year! Funny how this running streak has opened my eyes in aspects other than running.  But back to running, this streak has  taught me pretty much what Dr. Saint Laurent was trying to say way-back-when.  I don’t have to run double digit miles to have a meaningful run.  And who says that it even has to be “meaningful.”  I can have fun running 1 or 2 or 3 miles too, meaningful or not.  Smile 

Oh, and one more thing, Happy Birthday Mom!

7 comments:

  1. Nice post Lauren...got me thinking. I'm no afternoon runner as well. Just doesn't work for me. Have a good weekend and happy birthday to your mom.

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    1. Thanks Johann. Same to you too. The weekend has already passed, I know. Can't wait to hear about your Pikes Peak. I'm not sure if you've been to the states before, but Colorado is a bit a ways from Colorado. Any plans for California?

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    2. LOL. Oops I meant Colorado is a ways from California.

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    1. Thanks Slomohusky. Sometimes I don't have a great attitude. But REALLY, I truly appreciate the compliment. : )

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  3. Happy Birthday Laurens Mom!!

    Sometimes I think I get the most out of those shorter runs because I know I have to give it more effort and more work because the distance is so short. Long runs I can just zone out and go with the flow, which is nice also. Each has its own perks.

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    1. Thanks Khourt. I concur with you. There is much advantage to be taken from the short runs. You are a wise woman. : )

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